In 1964, Poitier became the first-ever black man to be awarded an Oscar as best actor for his performance in “Lilies of the Field” – and he remained the only one before Denzel Washington secured the prize in 2002.
Iconic American actor Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94, according to multiple media reports citing sources close to the actor’s family.
The cause of death has not been immediately disclosed.
Poitier made history as the first black actor to receive an Oscar as best actor for his performance in the movie “Lilies of the Field”, paving way for other black performers across America. Among his other landmark works are films like “A Patch of Blue,” “To Sir, With Love,” “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
When receiving his Oscar in 2002, another prominent black actor Denzel Washington referenced Poitier’s work, saying during his speech: “I’ll be chasing you, Sidney. I’ll always be following in your footsteps.”
Poitier’s death was met with an immediate wave of condolences on social media, with media personalities and fans paying tribute to him and his artistic way.
Among those mourning Poitier’s death were actors George Takei, Jeffrey Wright and Viola Davis, along with TV host Piers Morgan, former basketball player Rex Chapman, musician Lenny Kravitz and Democratic politicians Chuck Schumer and Benny G. Thompson.
This is a big one. No words can describe how your work radically shifted my life. The dignity, normalcy, strength, excellence and sheer electricity you brought to your roles showed us that we, as Black folks, mattered!!! It was an honor… https://t.co/xaPAjAlRtR pic.twitter.com/aqOmRqq7SN
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win an Oscar, has died at the age of 94. The star of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and “Lilies of the Field,” for which he won Best Actor, was a trailblazer who will be mourned by so many for whom he opened the very doors of Hollywood.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 7, 2022
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
First Black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.
A trailblazer who paved the way for countless others.
Sidney Poitier strived to do it all with grace and humility.
He will truly be missed. https://t.co/sN3BpxJvOE
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier was a true legend and inspiration to us all. I enjoyed seeing many of his movies. I send my sincerest condolences to his family. May his legacy live on. Rest In Peace, Sidney. pic.twitter.com/7aadDJnZ3i
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) January 7, 2022
What a life. Rest In Peace, Sidney Poitier… https://t.co/UyqfVuGSuL
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) January 7, 2022
Your excellence will always be the benchmark. Rest in divine peace, Bahamian King. My love and condolences go out to your beautiful family. #SidneyPoitier
📸: Mathieu Bitton pic.twitter.com/43qHtaLgLQ
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) January 7, 2022
RIP Sidney Poitier, 94.
When he answered an ad for actors, as an illiterate young man, the theatre owner sneered: ‘Go be a dishwasher.’
Sidney already was a dishwasher.
Stung by the jibe, he vowed to prove him wrong.
He became the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar. pic.twitter.com/JNpBWi8nwk
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier. What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love.
(📷Sam Falk/NYT) pic.twitter.com/5ZaKxxPdxw
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) January 7, 2022
The only Black actor before Poitier to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel, who secured the Academy Award in 1939 as best supporting actress for “Gone With the Wind.”